Table of Contents (Summer 2012)

Feature Stories

Cover Story: A New Catalystby Drew Ruble.  MTSU’s new $147 million science building is finally state-approved and under construction.  What now?

In Your Corner, by Katie Porterfield. Alum Jeffery Redid extends a helping hand to current students and recent grads with an eye on his industry.

Making Ends Meet, by Allison Gorman.  Helping ensure the recruiting trail ends in the graduation line.

Fueling MTSU’s Second Century, by Drew Ruble.  The University launches its largest fundraising campaign in history.

The Thais that Bind, by Drew Ruble.  MTSU’s alumni outreach efforts take on a decidedly international flavor.


Five Minutes with the President

Letter from the Editor

Give Ourselves a Hand

by Drew Ruble

One of the perks of working at MTSU is the ability to take one course per semester to apply either to the pursuit of a degree or simply for self-edification. As one of the area’s many closet songwriters, I recently took a course in commercial songwriting taught by professor Hal Newman. What I learned from that experience far exceeded classroom knowledge. In addition to witnessing first-hand the quality of instruction available at MTSU—and the incredible opportunities being provided by the University—I also learned about the generosity of some of its alumni. Let me explain. Although he’s recently departed MTSU and returned fulltime to the Nashville music industry, Professor Newman is credited with co-founding the commercial songwriting concentration at MTSU. Among the numerous hit song writers and artists Newman groomed over the past decade is chart-topping country music tunesmith Eric Paslay (pictured in studio with Newman here). Newman also helped create one of the most remarkable partnerships at MTSU—a studentmentoring program with ASCAP, one of the three major performing rights organizations in Nashville. The program pairs MTSU songwriting students with professional song pluggers, publishers and other industry insiders, giving students multiple chances each semester to play their songs for professionals on Music Row, get feedback, and maybe even start a career. I can tell you as the former editor of two Nashville business magazines, such access is unparalleled in the music business today. My ASCAP mentor was MTSU graduate and former Newman student Brooke Arrington (pictured here), currently the creative director for Big Yellow Dog Music, one of the most successful independent music publishing companies in Nashville (and home to Grammy Award–winning songwriter and MTSU graduate, Josh Kear). Arrington cleared her demanding schedule several times during the semester to work with me and other students trying to elevate our music to the “commercial” level. It was an invaluable experience. There are many ways to give back to the University. One is to give money. And, in fact, as an article on page 26 outlines, MTSU recently launched an $80 million campaign. Even a $25 donation can go a long way to reaching the goal of making MTSU an even greater university in its second century. As my personal experience with Brooke—and the feature story about MTSU graduate Jeffrey Reid on page 12—reveals, giving back to the University can also come in the form of mentoring MTSU students (or even graduates) to help them reach their professional dreams. Imagine what impact the MTSU alumni base could have on the Nashville market alone if every Blue Raider committed to helping just one MTSU student, graduate, or alum seeking an internship, job, or networking opportunity— particularly in these lean economic times. Reaching back or reaching down to help a fellow Blue Raider make his or her way in the world? To me, that’s a great example of what it really means to be True Blue.


Middle Tennessee State University Summer 2012 / vol. 17 no. 1

University Editor

Drew Ruble

Art Director

Kara Hooper

Contributing Editors

Michael Burgin, Bill Fisher

Contributing Writers

Mike Browning, Gina E. Fann, Allison Gorman, Bill Lewis, Gina K. Logue, Candace Moonshower, Katie Porterfield, Jennifer Stone, Tom Tozer, Patsy Weiler, Randy Weiler

Design Assistance

Darrell Callis Burks, Brian Evans, Lauren Finney, Sherry Wiser George, Martha Millsaps

University Photographers

J. Intintoli, Andy Heidt

Special thanks to

Lynn Adams, Brad Bartel, Kayla Bates, Sandra Brandon, Suma Clark, Molly E. Cochran, Tammie Dryden, Kelly Ford, Ginger Freeman and the MTSU Alumni Relations staff, Judith Iriarte-Gross, Kourtney Hanna, John Hood, Jon Jackson, Pat Jackson, Rob Janson, Ben King, Kat Kolby, Sam Mitchell, Paula Morton, MTSU Athletics, Susan Nogues, Nick Perlick and the MTSU Development staff, Jack Ross, Jim Simpson, Larry Sizemore, Sharon Smith, Tara Wann, Cathy Weller, Doug Williams, Rhonda Wimberly

University President

Sidney A. McPhee

Vice President for Development and University Relations

Joe Bales

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Andrew Oppmann

Address changes should be sent to Advancement Services, MTSU Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; Other correspondence should be sent to MTSU Magazine, Drew Ruble, CAB 205, 1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro TN 37132.

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